Early Imari: Looking to the Continent

Toguri Museum of Art

poster for Early Imari: Looking to the Continent

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Imari ware was the first porcelain produced in Japan. According to an important historical record, its history began when Japanese forces, following an invasion of the Korean peninsula (1592-1597), returned with several Korean ceramic artisans. This is recorded in the Hagakure, a collection of reflections by Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659-1719), who was a retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige (1632-1700), the lord of the Saga clan that ruled over Arita and the Sarayama area where Imari ware was made. In short, Imari ware was made possible by the introduction of technology from the Korean peninsula. That said, most of the designs in early Imari ware are Chinese in style. Although the technology was acquired from the Korean peninsula, China was the dominant porcelain maker at the time, and potters in Japan seem to have been familiar with Chinese-made products. The very first porcelain made in Japan, with technology from the Korean peninsula and decorated with Chinese-style motifs, is known as “Early Imari.” The products made in the first 30 years or so have a special charm, reflecting the era. They are approachable, with bold and free brushwork. In this exhibition we invite you to deepen your appreciation of Early Imari by looking for the technological influence from the Korean peninsula and early Japanese potters’ aspirations to China. <Jar, decorated with butterfly design in underglaze blue. Imari ware. Edo period. Early 17th century.

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from January 08, 2019 to March 24, 2019
Closes at 20:00 on the last day.

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